Don’t make it free, don’t make it easy: How retailers can support sustainable returns

Returns may be primed for change.

Returns have always played a part in retail operations, as companies strive to make them painless in the name of customer service. The pandemic has sped everything up, though, including e-commerce, which heavily contributed to the rate of returns last year. The National Retail Federation said consumers returned an estimated $428 billion in merchandise in 2020. That means for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer is incurring $106 million in merchandise returns.